Frequently Asked Questions

How do I leave a gift for a charitable organization that I admire?

Kids wearing tallitIt doesn't have to be difficult. You can arrange for a gift in several ways, the most common being through a charitable gift in a will or a living trust. Options include setting aside:

  • a percentage
  • any assets left over after providing for family members
  • a specific amount

Other options include:

  • a beneficiary designation in a retirement account or insurance policy
  • a paid-up life insurance policy
  • giving cash, stock, or another financial investment

Must I have an estate in order to leave a legacy?

Everyone can leave a legacy. "Estate" is simply a word used to describe any money, property, or personal belongings that you own at the time of your death. Most people leave an estate when they die, even though they may not have a great deal of wealth. Even modest gifts are appreciated.

Do I need to have a will or trust?

Without a will or trust, you may lose control over your assets after your death.

When should I start to think about leaving a legacy?

The answer is different for each individual. Some people make their wills or living trusts when they have a child, or when they receive an inheritance. But don’t put it off--the time is always right to think about how you wish to be remembered.

Why should I consider leaving a legacy?

Consider the institutions and causes you support now. Why have you made gifts of money and time? Picture your Jewish community decades from now. What would you hope to see? Through your legacy gift, you can ensure that the organizations you care about thrive in perpetuity and the issues you are most concerned with continue to be addressed.

Who will receive my legacy gift?

All qualified, tax-exempt institutions are appropriate beneficiaries. Organizations you have supported in your life are natural choices. Help keep the Jewish community strong by considering your synagogue, Federation, Jewish day school, or other Jewish group. You may wish to target fields of interests such as Jewish education, care for the elderly, or social services in Israel. You can also support organizations in the general community that have touched your life.

Consider designating a share of your legacy as unrestricted by including The Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay's Permanent Community Endowment. While some issues remain constant, priorities can shift in sudden and unexpected ways. This is an excellent way to express your trust in future community leaders.

Do I tell the charity that I've left a gift?

That is up to you. Charities often like to know in advance so that they can thank you for your generosity during your lifetime.

How can I invite my children into the process?

You should engage your children in the legacy gift planning process. Here are some suggestions:

  • Initiate a family discussion about how your charitable giving and values.
  • Together, visit the institutions and programs you are committed to supporting.
  • Listen to and acknowledge their concerns.

How can my legacy inspire the community?

The legacy planning process can build bonds with your partners in your community. It is truly a way to let your name be remembered as a blessing. Your promise to provide for the Jewish community after your lifetime also makes you eligible for the community’s recognition society.

How can I make sure that my legacy reflects what is important to me?

The Federation and Foundation is here to be your key resource, advisor and guide. Because we distribute millions of dollars in grants to the community each year, we can help you identify community needs and potential beneficiaries. We can meet with you before you meet with your advisors to brainstorm initial ideas and goals. In future years, we can help involve your children and grandchildren in carrying out your legacy.

How can the Federation and Foundation work with my professional advisors?

We can work with you and your professional advisors to plan your gift in a way that furthers your unique financial and charitable goals. We are available to meet and consult with your advisors throughout the process.

When should I fund my legacy?

Depending on your assets and goals, you can fund your legacy now or after your lifetime. For example, if you feel there is a compelling need to provide Jewish day school scholarships, you can begin those scholarships now and direct your estate to complete the balance of the funding. Alternatively, you can designate your entire legacy to be funded after your lifetime if that is more appropriate for you.

How should I fund my legacy?

With information from the Federation and Foundation and the help of your financial or estate planning professional, you can carefully choose the source of your dollars to help fund your legacy. Examples include assets in your will or trust, your retirement account, a life insurance policy, highly-appreciated stock and real estate.

What is the difference between a legacy gift and an endowment?

A legacy gift is distributed after the end of the donor's life. The receiving organization may add that gift to its endowment. An endowment is a permanent fund that is held in perpetuity, distributing a specified percentage annually for the agency or synagogue's general purposes, or a specific program. A legacy gift can fund an endowment, but an endowment can also be established during the donor's lifetime.

How can I get started?

Contact us for a confidential meeting or phone call. We look forward to working with you to keep the community strong and vibrant for generations to come.


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